UK

Animal Welfare Party Gains First UK Political Representation After Jane Smith Defects From Green Party

The move is of 'huge symbolic significance'.

04/09/2017 12:33 BST

The Animal Welfare Party (AWP) got its first political representative in the UK on Monday after a town councillor defected from the Green Party.

Jane Smith, who its on Alsager Town Council, in Cheshire, made history today after announcing her decision to switch political parties.

Smith has served on the council since 2015 and runs Compassion in World Farming’s Cheshire group.

The new AWP representative said in a statement: “I have made this decision because I believe it is important that we begin to acknowledge and address the inherent unfairness of our human-centric decision making bodies.

“Although the step I take today may appear small, I believe it is of huge symbolic significance.

“We share our world and our natural resources with so many other species, and it is only right and fair that those other animals and their habitats are properly represented and considered in our decision making.”

The party, established 10 years ago, contested three London constituencies in this year’s General Election.

An AWP candidate also stood against Theresa May in Maidenhead in response to the Prime Minister’s plan to offer MPs a free vote on the repeal of the fox hunting ban.

Vanessa Hudson, AWP party leader, said: “The UK has a proud history of thought leadership in animal welfare.

“It is high time animals had dedicated representatives in our decision making bodies.

“Only that way can their needs and interests begin to be properly protected.

“With today’s news, AWP takes its first steps to joining our sister parties in the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal and Australia who have already achieved that for animals.

“We are delighted that Jane has joined us, enabling the UK to take this important step.

“We welcome her into our party and look forward to supporting her continued good work for people, animals and the environment in Alsager and beyond.”

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Animal Welfare Party leader Vanessa Hudson said she is 'delighted' Jane Smith has joined the party.

In total, the party has contested ten elections, including the 2016 London Assembly Elections in which it won 25,810 votes (1%).

The party also contested the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly elections for the first time in the same year.

The AWP is based on the Dutch ‘Party for the Animals’ Partij voor de Dieren (PvdD), which holds five seats in the Dutch House of Representatives, two in the Dutch Senate and one in the European Parliament.